There’s been proliferation of online business degree programs. We’ve seen both extensive bachelor and emba’s (or online mba programs) that are being offered to students and executives alike. If you’re an executive or a manager where your employer defrays the cost or atleast half of the portion of the cost of an MBA, then you’re pretty lucky.
With the recession firmly spreading its tentacles into industrialized world, a lot of companies will be looking to cut back costs and improve their bottom line. A few years having an “EMBA” or an online degree would have been somewhat different and there is a possibility that HR might have seen that as not being the same as a regular MBA. However in today’s real-time world where things move at the speed of twitter and even university professors encouraging the use of Twitter in class we can confidently say that online business programs have arrived and are accepted quite well.
On the other hand, I’ve also read in the business newspapers that some students prefer to slog it out, taking long round trips to attend classes at their favored institutions. Dedication like that is worthwhile, and I don’t believe that will be lost upon company executives that a manager preferred the “old-fashioned” option over the easier “at-home” model. Of course there are get-togethers, and meetings with even online programs but it doesn’t have the intensity of a regular program.
So just like any other choice you have to make there are pros and cons of an online degree versus a regular degree. If you’re single, with few commitments, and not too much pressure at work then you might want to try the regular route but see if they give you an option to switch over should you find it too demanding on your time.
On the other hand, if your work is already quite stressful and you have family, then it would probably be best to go with the online option. Since this is an ethics blog, it might be best do a bit of soul-searching and finding the right balance without overdoing it. A work-life balance is important and you don’t want to get burned out.
Whichever option you decide, it would be best to consult with colleagues who’ve gone that route, your manager, and family members. Spend a few weeks thinking about it then see what your heart tells you.
Recently I had the opportunity to read Fintan O’Toole’s fantastic and detailed book “Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger”.
I would call it a must read for academics and everybody else who is interested in business ethics and the lack of it in the spectacular downfall we saw and the resulting recession. Not only does it highlight the enormous “loophole” benefits enjoyed by the extremely wealthy (a very creative one was – that you could take your plane/jet outside Ireland at the end of your working day and it would count as if you had been outside Ireland the entire day – result: 0% tax for top-earners – because only the top-earners could afford a private jet.)
With all the talk of toxic assets (real estate) and the resulting fallout in the States – its easy to overlook what happened in Ireland. Particularly the situation with NAMA (National Asset Management Agency), that holds the toxic assets.
The most eye-popping fact in the book is the fact that NAMA holds more assets than any other publicly quoted property company in the entire world. These are properties that have fallen immensely in value and will have an effect on Ireland and its people for years to come.
The extremely clear and easy to follow way in which Fintan O’Toole details the web of corruption in the public and private sectors that is built on loopholes designed to give a heavily favored hand to the richest leaves one feeling sorry for the state of affairs in the world today.
All-in-all a great informative book – well worth the read – and a fantastic job by the Irish Times columnist.
There are a number of fine business ethics courses available at renowned universities worldwide.
The faculty at Harvard not only teach elective courses in business ethics, they also hold seminars. As recently as 2004, HBS began offering a full-length ethics course known as “Leadership and Corporate Accountability”. In addition, lectures are held throughout the year that focus on various angles from social enterprise to keeping integrity in today’s profit-at-all-costs culture.
The London Business School (LBE) offers “Ethics and Corporate Social Responsibility” as one of its core courses in its prestigious MBA program. LBE has led the way in that it was one of the first top-ranked business schools to offer an ethics component in its curriculum.
MIT – through the Sloan School of Management also offers business ethics courses, and you can even review one of its course assignments through the OpenCourseWare titled: Ethical Practice: Professionalism, Social Responsibility, and the Purpose of the Corporation
If you’re looking for an online business ethics program, then the University of North Carolina, which offers a general course, a course on Corporate Social Responsibility and one on issues in Business Ethics. There are many options overall, some expensive, some are more affordable. Some require you to come to campus, and some can be online. Ultimately, the ideal solution depends on your time commitments and experience needed.
Fast paced world, everybody racing for their share, a lot of gray areas – many chances for greed and stupidity to take over. In any organization, there has to be a level of discipline that allows employees from the top-level on down to conduct themselves according to the expected rules. On one end, you want everybody to observe proper ethics when pursuing new business or catering to established clients. On the other end, you want enough positive discipline that an employee feel loyalty to the company, and values the contribution he or she makes to the organization.
One of the challenges of the 21st century onwards will be teaching discipline in business . Current college students and MBA graduates are thinking “free agent” style. With outsourcing and instability, many companies no longer see workers as long term, and employees are starting to develop that ideas as well. This mutual mistrust will displace the discipline in business that is crucial to successful, healthy and profitable ventures.
So here are a few simple ways to change that:
*Companies commit to investing in individuals, by identifying the skilled and talented.
*Offer them more training, quicker promotions – make it clear that this is a merit-based environment.
*Cut down on bureaucracy, company politics, and all the nonsense that makes employees wonder if the company is being fair.
One notable example is SEMCO of Brazil. They’ve developed a culture of trust with their employees which include programs like Retire A Little (allowing employees to take a day or two of extra per week in exchange for work later). Doing away with titles and offices (yes, that really does instill discpline). Making salaries public (so everybody know what everyone else makes). Allow employees to set their own salaries (they have a couple safeguards built in to prevent sheer madness). No wonder corporations from around the world visit their offices to see how they do it. So many tools and real life examples of teaching discipline in business. You just have to take the initiative!
Business Ethics Seminars are a quick, and easy way of getting necessary training of a short period of time. You often attend with like minded colleagues, and are able to express your concerns along with others.
The method is akin and similar to other professional seminars you might have attended previously as part of your career training. However – because the subject is somewhat sensitive some individuals will tend to be more outspoken than others – which can directly impact what you take back to your organization at the end of the seminar.
So a couple of key points to keep in mind, is that, prepare a list of questions and concerns you have. Keep it long – don’t worry, you’ll see that many of your colleagues will come up with similar concerns, and they will be addressed. As these questions are asked you can whittle down your list, and ask the ones that you feel are relevant from the list you have. One of the most important things when attending a business ethics seminar or any seminar as a matter of fact, is that the fast pace means you have to be prepared beforehand.
In a course or online training classes, you’re basically responding to the modules and answering questions. Here the interactivity is at a higher level, and you’ll be expected to join in with your thoughts and comments. Over the years, you’ve probably seen a number of situations that you might have been confused as to what is the right decision?
Your business ethics seminar will feature distinguished professors and lawyers with years of experience in the field. They will be able to analyze with you, and point out differences in situations that might be similar at first, but from an ethics standpoint are amazingly different.
Online Ethics Training makes it so much easier for employees and organizations to take their required courses and fulfill company codes without long trips, hotel costs, time away from families, and much more. The benefits allow companies to get top notch training programs without having to cover the auxiliary costs that seem so much larger in an economic recession. At the same time its an increasing concern because of the rapidly increasing conflicts of interest and deteriorating standards of conduct at the corporate level. Cutting corners on business ethics classes will only result in more problems down the road.
Employees will not know how to differentiate between what is acceptable and not acceptable – especially since the days of everything being crystal clear are gone. The complexities of a global economy bring with it murky waters of what might be standard business practice in one country, but against the law in another.
One way to keep the level of training up without sacrificing the budget, is to have employees sign up for online ethics training. Its really a smart way to get the job done. With Powerpoint presentations, whiteboards, instant communication, and all the technology available – even groups of employees can collaborate and then discuss after-class, the applications of the training classes to their work and their industry. A lot of time and cost is saved this way and everybody is all the more better for it.
Another benefit is that less time is spent on travel (actually there’s no commuting time), so a lot of man hours are saved that would otherwise have been a drain on the company’s resources. You might think that there is just one generic course out there, but the reality is that you can customize the curriculum to suit your organization’s needs. You can provide your own login information, logos, and customize the look and feel of everything from the presentation to the material to the certificate of completion. In the end its the most affordable way of providing the tools your employees need to make better decisions in the corporate workplace.
Ethics hotlines are a great tool to utilize in keeping your code of ethics in line and enforced. For a company looking to stay on top of more than their bottom line, ethics is a very important subject. Companies and organizations must adopt and implement a moral code, insisting that all employees and executives adhere to the code and enforcing this as well.
There are independent companies who offer ethics hotlines, you could use their services, as they will have professional staff who know their stuff, or you could start your own in-house hotline by hiring a knowledgeable consultant or two to work on staff.
Ethics hotlines handle all kinds of matters. They can help you to write up workplace policies and answer yours or an employees questions about ethical practices. They can also provide an anonymous way for those within the company to report a breach of ethics without fear of recourse.
Ethics hotlines should be available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every single day of the year. Multiple methods must be utilized: e-mail, telephone (toll-free), internet, fax and even standard mail. They can handle everything from accounting issues to theft to breach of confidentiality to misconduct, suggestions and more. Callers can remain anonymous.
It is good in a multi-cultural workplace to offer a multi-lingual service. An ethics hotline can provide incident reporting, follow-up, case management, and guidance.
Whether your company is large or small, if ethics is an important concern for you, an ethics hotline can be a golden key to your company’s success. An ethical company is one who follows through on their promises, never taking advantage of clients and always leaving a good taste in the customer’s mouth.
This will retain that customer and earn you even more through the word of mouth reputation.
Happy customers = happy profitable businesses = happy employees… and happy employees are the most likely to always adhere to a code of ethics.
With the recession in full swing – many companies can do their part to showcase to American consumers their commitment to ethics over profits. There are many ways for corporations to provide benefits to local communities where they have locations or across the States if they have enough reach.
The need of the hour is with the basic necessities: food, electricity, heating and so on. You need food on the table, the lights on, and a comfortably warm living space to make it home. Beyond that if you don’t have a car – you can take public transport. If you can’t afford a phone line – you can get a prepaid cell phone. If you can’t afford new books – the library is there.
Many organizations have been working to provide foodstuffs to low and fixed-income people. Another avenue is providing them with help in paying their electricity bills. I’m aware that many utilities already do offer programs – but they would do well to increase their generosity by allowing more people to participate and offering more rebates and discounts.
Its not only the right thing to do – its a must thing to do. Electricity is a must have – and a need nowadays (who can argue with that?) – for the people that live in urban centers of the world. They need access to electricity to run the heater, and turn the fan on.
Without such programs many elderly and small children can be at risk. Also we should have some concerted effort to provide the ability to compare programs and see which electricity supplier offers the best or the right program for a specific household. One such blog is Electricity Price Comparison which provides tips and ideas on reducing your electricity bill along with information on utility rate changes and average utility costs for business, residential and commercial usage.
By having private corporations focus their non-profit efforts on the things that really matter – they will automatically do a better job of increasing their public awareness, it will be a natural public relations effort, and the country as a whole will be all the more better for it.
As you can tell from the title of this blog – we are fans of an ethic based curriculum before and after schooling. Today we will focus on the specific applications of ethics training in business schools.
If you are looking to get an undergraduate or an MBA degree – hopefully you will take a few ethics classes but my friend Jeff Miller from bizethics.org reports that ethics requirements have been dropping and are the credits that were required previously are no longer required nowadays.
Although the article was written in 2003 – here we are in 2010, seven years later still reeling from the lack or ethics (and common sense) as exotic financial instruments were derived, packaged and sold en masse that would eventually result in the real estate bubble that burst and brought down the economies of the world with it.
I think the article is as relevant today as it was when Jeff wrote it, and I am providing a link to the entire PDF document here: Curriculum Vital: Ethics Courses in Business Schools
When the news about Google giving an ultimatum to China came out, I was quite shocked. Was this is a genuine change of heart from the search engine giant or did it have something to do with its competitor Baidu?
I’ve thought about this and I genuinely think that Google decided that they would no longer sacrifice globally accepted values in order to gain a foothold in China. That has to be applauded. However there’s too much of a gray area to accurately pinpoint what exactly was the motive – or was it a combination of motives?
One thing is clear, Google wouldn’t throw in the towel so quickly. With its search engine technology and being a global brand, it has no reason not to wait it out. Even if expectations were not being met, Google could easily hold on. It would have no problem convincing employees, shareholders, and everybody else because of the huge size of the Chinese market.
That leads us to the second point. Take a look at the figures of Chinese internet users and the swiftly rising middle class. For confirmation you can read Martin Jacques’ book “When China Rules the World” if you are in doubt. Why would Google do such a thing – unless something went really awry – it seems Google is really trying to make a stand.